What am I thankful for on this Thanksgiving? Where do I start? First of all, I am thankful for being the child of Doreatha (Childs) and Codis Hampton. Two people whom I dearly loved and will miss through eternity. And my heavenly father for placing me in their care and guidance in the first place.
I am thankful for having such wonderful siblings as my sisters, Delores, Carol, and stepsister, the late Johnny Mae. And let me not forget my little brother James Edward. I was the oldest and should have been the most responsible, but forgive me when I strayed to the dark side in my late teenage and young adult age.
That was a period when all five feet four of me thought to be cold blooded, hardcore and tuff was a prescription for survival in this country. The streets of Milwaukee called for guile, cunning, a bad attitude and short fuse. At least that is what I thought at the time. The first words out of my mouth to anyone who disagreed with me on any subject was F_ _ _ you, followed by I will kick your M-F A_ _. It made no difference if the guy was 5’4” 140lbs or 6’4” 250 lbs. My only suggestion to the person was to bring a lunch because it’s going to be an all-day fight to the finish. I won some and lost others. In fact, have you ever seen a group of different size dogs on the street or in a yard? The smallest runt of the pack is always barking the loudest, jumping up and down. The others may not even bark, but that runt is lunging at you as you walk by and seems to want to tear one of your limbs off your body. I was that runt.
I was mad at the world, didn’t care who knew it and was not planning on passing the age of twenty-one. And if that was to come to pass, I was going down swinging at my foe. Along the way, I found out a simple truth. It didn’t matter who won, my body still felt the pain from being in a fight. All praise is to God; I got over and lived through that phase. I also give thanks to a three-year service in the US Army which helped me mature in a manner I never knew existed for a black man in this country.
I’ll tell you some other people who knew what I was learning the hard way. And that is my mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, uncles, Aunts and adult cousins. If I had listened to them in the first place, well…that phase in my life could have been spent more productive maybe resulting in a master degree in something or the other. I have no regrets. That is what it took for me to get to 2015. Now it’s just another reason for me to be thankful today.
I am grateful for having met my wife, Sandra along the way. For our children, Shawn Lynn, Richie and Brandon, now grown and finding their way in life, I am all so proud of their accomplishments. They are down to earth people who are real and see life as it is not through rose colored glasses. My wife and I tried to raise them in the way we were raised hoping they would be better and avoid some of our mistakes. The fact that they are alive and well is a blessing in itself.
Today, I can say; I have family and friends that I keep in contact with, some daily, weekly, others monthly, and yearly. There are friends and family I haven’t touched bases with in a while who know me well enough to know I still care and think about them. As in life, there have been disagreements with family and friends causing them to fall out of touch for whatever reason. They should know; I’m not a person who holds a grudge or harbor some dislike for them because of some incident between us. Thank God, I can say, I’m not that kind of person today. I have evolved and continue to do so. I am a better person than I was years ago, last year and several months ago, as I continue to work on me every day. I am certainly thankful for that.
Make no mistake about it. I go through what you all go through on a daily basis. We have to deal with rude and obnoxious people in the grocery store or other retail outlets. Making a phone call to a vendor while trying to correct their billing error can be challenging. Is it me, or am I correct in concluding that customer service is lacking at too many of our service industry companies these days? Sometimes it’s as though the Human Resource Office in these companies have hired a staff of incompetent, uncaring, and impatient individuals to answer their phones and yet call themselves a customer service representative. Most of time, I feel I should send them an invoice for helping them do their job. You feel me? But then, over the years I’ve learned not to let a person or persons put me in a bad mood for the day. I deal with it at that time with that person and move on; it’s that simple. And for that change in my personality, I am thankful to Jesus Christ.
I am oh so thankful for the new people I am meeting in my life. Some of which, I have never personally met or seen, but often communicate by phone as if we’ve known each other for a lifetime. I’ve met most of these new friends and contacts in connection with my church, BTR Show, publication of books or my role as their tax preparer.
Every day many of these people or colleagues give me hope there is a better day coming for our people of color and communities across this nation. We share a common goal for the human race and specifically for the black race. These are people of all colors who demonstrate on a daily basis that they are community driven first rather than only seeking profit for their endeavors. It is these people, along with my upbringing that keeps me going and selfishly giving of my time for my community.
I am so thankful to my Savior for guiding me as I take the actions required to give and contribute in my way to our community. To say that I’ve evolved into a good husband, father, citizen and black man in 2015 is an understatement in my view. I’ve found peace with myself, my God, my family, friends and everyone else. And for that, I am eternally thankful this Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving to you all, may you find the same type of contentment in your life.
Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,
Codis Hampton II
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“In my latest book, Remember Moz, Gracie & John Hampton’s First-Born, I wanted to tell the world about a unique individual. Not because he happened to be my father but to explain who he was, where he came from, and how he evolved into the man he became up until his death. In doing so, I wrote of his ancestor’s roots back to and through the Civil War. The inclusion of his birth and upbringing in the heart of Arkansas, or Jim Crow country, add southern reluctance to learn why our country involved itself in a bloodthirsty four-year exercise in the first place? Then you begin to understand why, our parents behaved the way that they did. See if I captured the essence of this paragraph.” Get the book via the Authors Page at http://outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478766056
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